The 84 hectares that comprise the Mt Galiano nature conservancy area —- which includes the 314m summit, the island’s highest point of land —- were purchased in 1991, from the MacMillan Bloedel Co, after an energetic and creative fundraising campaign by the island community. Guardianship was granted to the Galiano Club the following year with a Management Plan being drawn-up then.
Much evidence exists nearby of seasonal use by First Nations peoples stretching over thousands of years. No doubt the mountain area was much visited by them for hunting & gathering purposes.
The 1st European to see the area was probably the 18th century Spanish explorer & naval officer, Dionisio Alcala-Galiano, while on a coastal mapping expedition for his country. In 1792 he encountered the English Captain, George Vancouver, sailing just off the coast of this island, on a similar mapping mission. Later, in commemoration of the Spanish officer’s mapping skills, Capt. Vancouver had both this island and this high peak named in honour of Dionisio Galiano.
The vehicle parking area is located on Active Pass Dr. A large, beautifully carved wood sign, created in 1991 by two islanders, stands at the entrance. Here the main hiking trail begins, the approximately hour-long route to the summit almost entirely under a mixed-forest canopy. By coincidence, the trail was created in 1992, the 200th anniversary of that historic encounter of the two competing naval captains. (The trail passes the wreck of a small airplane —- why it is there remains a mystery.) The open summit area provides hikers with stunning southward views over Trincomali Channel, the Southern Gulf Islands & beyond.
Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Arbutus, Big-leaf Maple, Red Alder comprise the mostly second-growth forest. A healthy growth of Garry Oak trees exists on the rocky summit.
There are other access trails, managed by the Galiano Trails Society, which —- with agreement —- cross privately-owned property, from Lord Road, from Georgeson Bay Road.